Identity and self hood are two specific themes in Chopin's "Story of an Hour." After a moment of grief, Mrs. Mallard feels free for the first time once she realizes her husband has died. She mutters over and over to herself "free, free, free!" and hugs herself with excitement. Looking out her window she imagines how her life will be now as she now will have the opportunity to live solely for herself and not for someone else.
This moment of self enlightenment is short lived. The importance of this self revelation is revealed when the story ends and she realizes that it was a mistake and her husband is actually alive. When he comes through the front door she is so overcome that she collapses. It is inferred that since she does not feel that she can live without the freedom that she had just imagined for herself.